Published Online: 1 March 2003
Page Count: 6
(Received 15 March 2002; accepted 3 November 2002)
The fingernails of Mary Sullivan, the last victim of the Boston Strangler, were examined to determine if any genetic information about the murderer could be obtained. The nails were extremely friable necessitating the development of new techniques for isolating and purifying DNA. DNA yields from nails were optimized by using a NaOH-based preparation technique, which was simple, efficient, and minimized handling. Methods for selectively and thoroughly removing exogenous material on nails were also developed through use of a species-specific PCR assay, wherein mitochondrial DNA from the nail could easily be differentiated from DNA of contaminating cells.
Paper ID: JFS2002107